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Self service knowledge base

Self-Service Knowledge Base: Your Introductory Guide

Customer service is a crucial part of any enterprise’s customer journey–no matter the niche, size, or industry. 

That fact–combined with the way that technology has evolved and transformed customer service and the customer journey over the last few years–calls for a deeper commitment to the type of service your customers actually want. 

What is that kind of customer service, exactly? Self-service. 

Research shows that people are far more interested in answering their own questions than working with a customer service agent to troubleshoot or problem solve. In fact, about 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.

With this in mind, as a business that cares about your customers’ journey, shouldn’t you consider equipping them with the tools and resources they need to solve those problems on their own? 

The most effective and seamless way to create a great customer self-service experience is to put all the power, knowledge, and resources in their hands in a comprehensive, comparable way so that a customer service ticket never needs to be created in the first place. 

Self-service is increasingly becoming the preferred method of customer service, and with the right tools at your disposal, you can equip your customer to solve their own problems succinctly and completely in almost any circumstance.

How do you make that happen, exactly? By making use of knowledge base software to create a self-service knowledge base.

This article will dive into some of the must-know details about self-service knowledge base platforms, like:

  • What they are 
  • How they can benefit your business
  • How they can elevate your customer service
  • What some of the best practices to employ to get the most out of this system 

What Exactly is a Self-Service Knowledge Base?

You can’t build a problem-solving self-service knowledge base platform without knowing something very important–what these systems are in the first place. 

While there are tons of different definitions of these floating around on the internet, we like to define self-service knowledge bases in a particular way.

A self-service knowledge base (which is also known as an external knowledge base or a customer service knowledge base) is a digital library of information that’s set up to help a customer process and resolve their own problems, issues, and questions without the assistance of a support or customer service agent. 

Unlike internal knowledge base software which is meant to be used by a company’s employees, a self-service knowledge base provides customers with a collection of published information and content to guide them through their customer journey, answer their questions, and solves their problems so well that the customer support department isn’t needed. 

There’s no hard and fast rule that knowledge base platforms need to look identical to successful platforms to be successful. Every business–and therefore every customer journey and experience–is different. That’s why it’s important to build, audit, and manage one that makes the most sense for your enterprise and customers. 

A knowledge base platform can include all kinds of unique content that guides and assists customers, incorporating elements like: 

  • Community Forums 
  • Mobile Apps 
  • Frequently Asked Question Sections 
  • Educational Content
  • How-To & Troubleshooting Guides
  • Demo Videos 
  • Directive Photos 
  • Automated Chat Bots
  • Indexed Encyclopedias
  • Machine-Readable Knowledge Base Software 

And, of course, that is just the start. 

Ultimately, no matter how a self-service knowledge base looks or what it includes, it counts as accomplishing its goal if it offers helpful guidance that guides a customer on their customer journey or experience and reduces the need for the involvement of the customer service department. 

The Business Benefits Behind Implementing a Self-Service Knowledge Base 

Consistent Support For Your Customers 

As much as you’d like your customer service department to be available 24/7, this isn’t always feasible. And while you might be able to provide human-powered support more often than not, that doesn’t always lead to the wisest allocation of your organization’s resources, time, or money. 

Still, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some sort of constant, consistent support for your customers who might have an issue or a question during your customer service off-hours. 

With a self-service knowledge base, you can set your customers up for success, giving them access to a wealth of knowledge covering every topic they need related to your company, product, or service. 

Improved Customer Retention 

Often, customer service is the pitfall of most companies, and, usually this is not intentional. Companies–especially smaller or newer ones–tend to be stretched pretty thin, and despite their best efforts, they can’t prioritize customer service the way most customers deserve and expect. 

Time and time again, this leads to poor customer service, which is one of the primary reasons that companies tend to lose customers. 

When you empower customers to learn about your products and fix their problems on their own, you’re providing them with a level of customer service that’s unmatched. Fewer calls and tickets will be generated, agents won’t be bogged down with mundane, repetitive tasks, and more attention and direction can be appropriately focused on the customers who need one-on-one assistance. 

Good customer service keeps your customers coming back for more. 

Speedy Resolutions & Faster Fixes 

This isn’t just a boon to your customers but also to your customer service department. Most customer support experts will tell you that they receive a lot of tickets that could be resolved on their own–if only the company had implemented the right customer service automation tools and resources for their customers. 

In fact, about 37-57% of customer service agents spend their valuable time on mundane, repetitive tickets that likely could have been solved if the customer had just a touch more information to work with. 

It’s a win from the customers’ perspectives, too. Not only do they not have to take the time to hunt down your contact information, get in touch with your department, and wait for a resolution, but they also get to troubleshoot their problem on their own–something that modern customers value more than anything. 

Improved Customer Experience & Journey 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has redefined the way that customers look at companies. Now, more than ever, they care more about their experience with that company, almost as much (if not more) than they care about the product that the company provides. Nearly 80% of customers cite customer experience as being just as important as the product. 

To us, that spells out one harsh reality–companies, no matter what their industry might be, are officially in the business of caring about and nurturing those customer relationships. 

As we mentioned, self-service options are a big part of what’s valuable in a customer experience, so offering this to your customers is crucial to meeting their expectations. 

Enhanced Customer Acquisition 

With a quality knowledge base designed with your customers in mind, you’re setting up future success for customer acquisition. 

Not only does a wealth of information and content enable your current customers, but it also empowers would-be customers to make purchasing decisions, read descriptions, and get the questions they need answered to make up their minds. 

Self-service knowledge base platforms can seamlessly turn window shoppers into consistent customers–all without spending an extra dime on customer acquisition. 

Self-Service Knowledge Base Best Practices: Tips to Abide By

Of course, not every self-service knowledge base is created equal. It’s not enough to throw a few resources up on your website and hope that it solves your problems. 

In fact, self-service knowledge bases perform their best when they’re mindfully constructed, thoroughly engineered, overflowing with details that cater to a customer’s experience, and regularly updated and audited to ensure accurate and helpful information is always available.

Not sure where to start on your self-service knowledge base? Read through a few of these best practices to get an idea of the right way to construct your knowledge base. 

Build and Maintain an Extensive Base First 

You can’t run before you walk. Don’t direct customers to your self-service knowledge base until you’ve actually built it extensively. Try to focus on customer experience from the start while you build out your knowledge base. 

Focus on Simplicity

Using your self-service knowledge base shouldn’t be complicated. Make sure you create a system so simple that anyone–no matter where they are on their customer journey–can navigate the system. 

Make language simple, make steps easy to understand, and make sure the system is both well-designed and intuitive. 

Implement Forums & Helpful Communities Where You Can

Allow your customers to weigh in on your knowledge base software. Whether this is a discussion on whether or not your knowledge base content is helpful or a guide written by a customer that enables and empowers other customers. 

But of course, be sure to monitor and moderate these communities consistently. 

Audit Frequently

Creating a strong foundation of helpful guidance is a great start–but that’s not the end of the journey. It’s important to look at your self-service journey as a marathon, not a sprint (make that a never-ending marathon, actually). Unfortunately, when it comes to providing helpful information for customers, there’s no real finish line. This means you’ll need to consistently audit, add to, and edit your knowledge base. 

Be Consistent 

Make sure you’re coming up with regular content additions and helpful information to keep your users satisfied and assisted. If your customers can’t count on you to provide them with regularly updated, consistent information, then they won’t rely on you–in other words, they’ll find another company to rely on. 

Don’t Demand Data for Access 

You’re offering help, not scraping data–don’t make your customers give you their information to reap the benefits of your self-service system. 

Offer Additional Layers of Support 

Your self-service system should be a primary contact, but that doesn’t mean it should be your only point of contact. Make sure you’re making it easy to contact your customer service department for those who don’t want to use the self-service knowledge base (yes, those customers still exist). 

Leave the Jargon Out of It 

Your industry jargon can stay in the office, but leave it out of your self-service knowledge base. Making self-service easy, simple, and approachable is crucial to the usability of your self-service platform. When you overcomplicate it by adding in jargon that no one understands, you’re putting up a roadblock that keeps customers out. 

Ready to Create Yours? Team Up with the #1 Self-Service Knowledge Base Software 

Are you ready to invest in your customers’ journey and help guide their experience more seamlessly than ever? You’ll need the best platform and support system in the market to make this dream a reality. 

Helpjuice is proudly known as the #1 self-service knowledge base software on the market, and we’re even more proud to extend this software to enterprises and companies like yours who are ready to enhance their customer service and achieve success.

Reach out to the Helpjuice team to learn more about our offerings and how we can transform and revolutionize the way your enterprise navigates the self-service customer service part of your business.

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